The author’s attempt to gain employment in a specific field is hampered by not having another language at her command. She therefore decides to resolve the issue by applying to become an au pair in France. Her story commences with a deception that could have led to the whole adventure backfiring from the start. No doubt in many cases it would have but a need of the moment prevented it doing so.
Becoming an au pair in a foreign land without the ready support of family and friends can be a risky prospect, especially as the au pair is usually quite young. No doubt some readers will have heard tales of how some of these young people are taken advantage of. Naturally, the employer’s character plays a large part in how matters work out. This is definitely the case in this memoir.
Though the author shares some of her enthusiasm for the regions she travelled through and lived in, this is primarily a memoir depicting a clash of personalities and inappropriate expectations. It provides an insight into the varying attitudes that may encompass different strata of society and the consequent behaviours. The reader will instinctively find themselves supporting the author as she finds her feet and resists injustices.
It would spoil it for potential readers to say more.
This is not a particularly dramatic or unusual story, nevertheless it will interest those who like to read about other people’s lives. In this account the reader is shown how the protagonist:
- Manoeuvres the hurdles thrown in her way.
- Overcomes awkward, sometimes unfair, circumstances.
- Deals with the prospect of love.
- Copes with a very different culture.
- Assimilates some local traditions e.g. culinary expertise.
This memoir makes an interesting read but cannot be said to be exceptional. Three stars (3*). This website’s policy with regard to ratings may be understood here.
The book is available paperback, e-book and audio formats.
Note: The author continues her story in a second memoir ‘From Tours to Paris’. Consequently, the book reviewed above is now referred to as ‘French Illusions Book 1’.